« AnteriorContinuar »
brigade, and was assigned to duty on the right were laid, Osterhaus managed to throw over the of the line, to relieve Geary's command, almost Twenty-seventh Missouri regiment, and soon exhausted with the fatigue and excitement inci- after all of his infantry. The former deployed, dent to their unparalleled march.
pushed forward as skirmishers to the gorge in To prevent artillery being brought forward, the Missionary Ridge, and drew the fire of the artilenemy bad undermined the road and covered it lery and infantry holding it, and also discovered with felled timber. This was repaired and placed that the enemy was attempting to cover a train in serviceable condition before morning. During of wagons, loading with stores at the Rossville the day and till after midnight, an irregular fire House. As the position was one presenting was kept up along our line, and had the appear- many advantages for defence, the skirmishers ance at one time of an effort to break it. This were directed to keep the enemy engaged in front, was on the right, and was at once vigorously while Wood's brigade was taking the ridge on and handsomely repelled. In this, Carlin's bri- the right and four regiments of Williamson's on gade rendered excellent service. His report is the left. Two other regiments of this brigade herewith forwarded.
were posted on the road leading to Chattanooga, Before daylight, anticipating the withdrawal of to prevent surprise. In executing their duties, the rebel force from the summit of the moun the troops were necessarily exposed to the enetain, parties from several regiments were de- my's artillery, but as soon as it was discovered spatched to scale it; but to the Eighth Kentucky that his flanks were being turned, and his retreat must belong the distinction of having been fore-threatened, he hastily evacuated the gap, leaving most to reach the crest, and at sunrise to dis- behind large quantities of artillery and small play our flag from the peak of Lookout, amid the arms, ammunition, wagons, ambulances, and a wild and prolonged cheers of the men whose house full of commissary stores. Pursuit was dauntless valor had borne it to that point. made as far as consistent with my instructions to
During the night the enemy had quietly aban-clear Missionary Ridge. doned the mountain, leaving behind twenty thou- Meanwhile, the bridge had been completed, sand rations, the camp and garrison equipage of and all the troops over, or crossing. Osterhaus three brigades, and other materiel.
received instructions to move, with his division, An impenetrable mist still covered the face of parallel with the ridge, on the east; Cruft on the valley. Prisoners reported that the enemy the ridge, and Geary in the valley, to the west had abandoned it; but, deeming it imprudent to of it, within easy supporting distance. The descend, a reconnoissance was ordered, and soon batteries accompanied Geary, as it was not after nine o'clock a report came in that the rebels known that roads could be found for them with had retired, but that their pickets still held the the other divisions, without delaying the moveright bank of Chattanooga Creek, in the direc-ments of the column. General Cruft, with his tion of Rossville. Soon after the fog vanished, staff, preceded his eolumn in ascending the ridge, and nothing was to be seen in the valley but the to supervise the formation of his lines, and was deserted and burning camps of the enemy at once met by a line of the enemy's skirmish
Among the fruits of the preceding operations ers, advancing. The Ninth and Thirty-sixth may be enumerated the concentration of the Indiana regiment sprang forward, ran into line army, the abandonment of the defences, upward under their fire, and, instantly charging, drove of eight miles in extent; the recovery of all the back the rebels, while the residue of the coluinn advantages in a position the enemy had gained formed their lines; Gross's brigade, with the from our army on the bloody field of Chicka- Fifty-first Ohio and Thirty-fifth Indiana, of mauga, giving to us the undisputed navigation Whitaker's, in advance, the balance of the latter of the river and the control of the railroad; the closely supporting the front line. It was, howcapture of between two and three thousand pris- ever, soon found that the ridge on top was too oners, five stands of colors, two pieces of artil- narrow to adınit of this formation, and the dilery, upward of five thousand muskets, etc. vision was thrown into four lines. By this time
Of the troops opposed to us were four brigades the divisions of Geary and Osterhaus were of Walker's division, Hardee's corps; a portion abreast of it, and all advanced at a charging of Stewart's division, of Breckinridge's corps; pace. and on the top of the mountain were three bri- ! The enemy had selected, for his advanced line gades of Stevenson's division.
of defence, the breastworks thrown up by our THE PURSUIT-THE FIGHT ON THE RIDGE.
army on its return from Chickamauga; but such
was the impetuosity of our advance, that his front In conformity with orders, two regiments were line was routed before an opportunity was afdespatched to hold the mountain, Carlin's bri- forded him to prepare for a determined resistgade was directed to await orders on the Sum- ance. Many of the fugitives, to escape, ran down mertown road, and at ten o'clock my column, the east slope to the lines of Osterhaus; a few Osterhaus's (being nearest the road) leading to the west, and were picked up by Geary. The marched for Rossville.
bulk of them, however, sought refuge behind On arriving at Chattanooga Creek, it was dis- the second line, and they, in their turn, were covered that the enemy had destroyed the bridge, soon routed, and the fight became almost a runand, in consequence, our pursuit was delayed ning one. Whenever the accidents of the ground nearly three hours. As soon as the stringers I enabled the rebels to make an advantageous stand, Geary and Osterhaus-always in the right tery and two or three thousand infantry. Inplace-would pour a withering fire into their structions were sent him to attack them at once ; flanks, and again the race was renewed. This and, while forming his lines to the left for that continued until near sunset, when those of the purpose, the remaining part of the column was enemy who had not been killed or captured, massed, as it came up, to the right of the road, gave way, and, in attempting to escape along and held, awaiting the movements of Palmer. the ridge, ran into the arms of Johnson's division His enemy was discovered to be a battery of of the Fourteenth corps, and were captured three pieces, with a small escort, and was the
Our enemy, the prisoners stated, was Stewart's rear of the rebel army on the road from Greysdivision. But few escaped Osterhaus alone ville to Ringgold. Three pieces of artillery were captured two thousand of them. This officer captured, and subsequently an additional piece, named the Fourth Iowa, Seventy-sixth Ohio, and with, I believe, a few prisoners. I have received Twenty-seventh Missouri regiments as having no report, from this officer, of his operations been especially distinguished in this engagement. while belonging to my command, although mine Landgraber's battery of howitzers also rendered has been delayed six weeks in waiting. We brilliant service on this field.
were now fairly up with the enemy. This was Here our business for the day ended, and the at ten o'clock at night. Cruft's division advanctroops went into bivouac, with cheers and re-ed, and took possession of the crest of Chickajoicing, which were caught up by other troops mauga hills-the enemy's abandoned camp-fires in the vicinity, and carried along the ridge, until still burning brightly on the side-and we all lost in the distance.
went into bivouac.
My artillery was not yet up; and, in this con. THE PURSUIT CONTINUED—RINGGOLD-THE ENEMY
nection, I desire that the especial attention of OVERTAKEN.
the Commander of the department may be callSoon after daylight, every effort was made, by ed to that part of the report of General Osterreconnoissance and inquiry, to ascertain the haus which relates to the conduct of the officers whereabouts of the enemy; but to no purpose. who had the pontoon-bridge in charge. I do not The field was silent as the grave. Knowing the know the names of the officers referred to; was desperate extremities to which he must be re- not furnished with a copy of their instructions, duced by our success, with his retreat seriously nor did they report to me. The pontoons were threatened by the only line left him with a hope not brought forward to the point of crossing at of success, I felt satisfied the enemy must be in all, and the calks and chess-planks only reached full retreat; and accordingly suggested to the their destination between nine and ten o'clock commander of the department that my column P.M.-distance from Chattanooga ten miles, and march to Greysville, if possible, to intercept him. the roads excellent. Then trestles had to be This was approved of, and, reënforced by Palm- framed, and the bridge was not finished until er's corps, all moved immediately in that di- six o'clock the following morning. The report rection, Palmer's corps in advance.
of Lieutenant H. C. Wharton, of the engineers, On arriving at the west fork of the Chicka- and temporarily attached to my staff, who was mauga River, it was found that the enemy had left behind to hasten the completion of the destroyed the bridge. To provide for this con- bridge, is herewith transmitted. tingency, Major-General Butterfield, my Chief of No better commentary on this culpable negliStaff, had in the morning prudently requested gence is needed than is furnished by the record that three pontoons, with their calks and chesses, of our operations in the vicinity of Ringgold. might be despatched for my use, but as they The town was distant five miles. At daylight had not come up, after a detention of several the pursuit was renewed-Osterhaus in the adhours, a bridge was constructed for the infantry, vance, Geary following, and Cruft in the rear. the officers swimming their horses. It was not Evidences of the precipitate flight of the enemy until after three o'clock that the regiments were were everywhere apparent; caissons, wagons, able to commence crossing, leaving the artillery ambulances, arms, and ammunition were abanand ambulances to follow as soon as practicable; doned in the hurry and confusion of retreat. also a regiment of artillery as a guard, to com- After going about two miles, we came up with plete the bridge, if possible, for the artillery, the camps he had occupied during the night, the and also to assist in throwing over the pontoon- fires still burning. A large number of prisoners bridge as soon as it arrived. Partly in conse- were also taken before reaching the east fork of quence of this delay, instructions were given for the Chickamauga River. Palmer's command to continue on to Greysville, We found the ford, and also the bridge to the on reaching the La Fayette road, and for the bal- south of Ringgold, hela by a body of rebel cav. ance of the command to proceed to Ringgold, alry. These discharged their arms, and quickly (Cruft now leading) as this would enable me to gave way before a handful of our men, and were strike the railroad five or six miles to the south closely pursued into the town. I rode to the of where it was first intended. Palmer was to front on hearing the firing, where I found Oster. rejoin me in the morning.
haus out with his skirmishers, intensely alive to Soon after dark, word was received from Palm- all that was passing, and pushing onward brisker, through a member of his staff, that he had ly. He informed me that four pieces of artillery come up with the enemy, reported to be a bat- I had just left the rebel camp, weakly escorted, and ran into the gorge, which he could have Geary ordered four of his regiments still further captured with a small force of cavalry. The to the left, under Colonel Creighton, for the same gorge is to the east of Ringgold, and we were object, where they also found an overwhelming approaching it from the west. A little firing oc- force confronting them. Vigorous attacks were curred between our skirmishers as they entered made by both of these columns, in which the the town and small parties of the enemy's cav- troops exhibited extraordinary daring and devoalry and infantry, the latter retiring in the di- tion, but were compelled to yield to numerical rection of the gap. There is a break in Taylor's superiority. The first took shelter in a depresRidge of sufficient width for the river to flow, sion in the side of the ridge, about fifty paces in and on its north bank room for an ordinary road rear of their most advanced position, and there and a railroad, when the ridge rises abruptly on remained. The other column was ordered to both sides four or five hundred feet, and from resume its position on the railroad. All the parthence, running nearly north and south, con- ties sent forward to ascertain the enemy's positinues unbroken for many miles. Covering the tion and strength were small; but the attack entrance to it, is a small patch of trees and un- had been made with so much vigor, and had dergrowth. It was represented by citizens succeeded so well in its object, that I deemed it friendly to our cause, and confirmed by contra- unwise to call up the commands of Palmer and bands, that the enemy had passed through Ring- Cruft, and the remaining brigades of Geary, to gold sorely pressed, his animals exhausted, and deliver a general attack, without my artillery. I his army hopelessly demoralized. In a small therefore gave instructions for no advance to be portion of it only had the officers been able to made, and for the firing to be discontinued, expreserve regimental and company formations, cept in self-defence. These orders were conveyed many of the men having thrown away their and delivered to every officer in command on our arms. A still greater number were open and advance line. Word was received from General violent in their denunciations of the Confederacy. Wood that appearances in his front were indicIn order to gain time, it was the intention of the ative of a forward movement on the part of the rear-guard to make use of the natural advantages enemy, when Ireland's brigade, of Geary's divithe gorge presented to check the pursuit. The sion, was sent to strengthen them. Calhoun's troops relied on for this were posted behind the brigade, of the same division, took a well-shelmountain and the trees, and the latter were also tered position behind the knoll, midway between used to mask a couple of pieces of artillery. the dépôt and the opening to the gap. These Only a feeble line of skirmishers appeared in officers were also ordered not to attack or fire sight. The only way to ascertain the enemy's unless it should become necessary. I may here strength was to feel of him; and as our success, state that the greatest difficulty I experienced if prompt, would be crowned with a rich harvest with my new commands, and the one which of materiel, without waiting for my artillery, caused me the most solicitude, was to check and (not yet up, though after nine o'clock,) the skir- curb their disposition to engage, regardless of mishers advanced. Wood deployed his brigade circumstances, and, it appeared, almost of consein rear of them, under cover of the embankment quences. This had also been the case on Lookof the railroad, and a brisk musketry fire com-out Mountain and on Missionary Ridge. Despite menced between the skirmishers.
my emphatic and repeated instructions to the At the same time tbe enemy kept his artillery contrary, a desultory fire was kept up on the busily at work. Their skirmishers were driven right of the line until the artillery arrived; and in, and, as we had learned the position of their you will see by the report of commanders, that, battery, the Thirteenth Illinois regiment, from under cover of elevated ground between my posithe right of Wood's line, was thrown forward to tion and our right, several small parties advanced seize some houses from which their gunners to capture the enemy's battery and harass bis could be picked off by our men. These were flank at the gap. It is not with displeasure I heroically taken and held by that brave regiment. refer to these circumstances in evidence of the Apprehensive that he might lose his artillery, animation of the troops, neither is it with a feelthe enemy advanced with a superior force on ing of resentment; for of that I was disarmed our skirmishers, and they fell back behind by an abiding sense of their glorious achieveWood's line, when that excellent officer opened ments. It has never been my fortune to serve on the rebels and drove them into the gorge, with more zealous and devoted troops. they leaving, as they fled, their dead and wound-/ Between twelve and one o'clock, the artillery ed on the ground. Our skirmishers at once re- came up, not having been able to cross the west occupied their line, the Thirteenth Illinois all the fork of the Chickamauga until eight o'clock on time maintaining its position with resolution and the morning of the twenty-seventh. Under my obstinacy. While this was going on in front of acting Chief of Artillery, Major Reynolds, in conthe gorge, Osterhaus detached four regiments, l junction with Generals Geary and Osterhaus, under Colonel Williamson, half a mile to the one section of twelve-pounder howitzers was left, to ascend the ridge and turn the enemy's placed in position to bear on the enemy in front right. Two of these, the Seventy-sixth Ohio, of our right and to enfilade the gap; another supported by the Fourth Iowa, were thrown section of ten-pounder Parrotts was assigned to forward, and, as the enemy appeared in great silence the enemy's battery; and one section, force, when they had nearly gained the crest, further to the left, to bear on some troops held
in mass in front of Geary's regiments. At the sion to remain at Ringgold during the twentysame time a regiment from Cruft's had been ninth and thirtieth, unless it should be found sent around by the bridge to cross the practicable to advance toward Dalton without Chickamauga, and, if possible, to gain the fighting a battle, the object of my remaining, as heights of the ridge on the south side of the stated, being to protect Sherman's flank, with river, the possession of which would give us authority to attack or move on Dalton should a plunging 'fire upon the enemy in the gorge. the enemy move up the Dalton and Cleveland Two companies had nearly gained the summit road. In retreating, the enemy had halted a when they were recalled. The artillery had portion of his force at Tunnel Hill, midway beopened with marked effect, the enemy's guns tween Ringgold and Dalton, and, as he evinced were hauled to the rear, his troops seen moving, no disposition to molest Sherman, my command and before one o'clock he was in full retreat. / rested at Ringgold. I was kept fully advised of Williamson's brigade followed him over the the rebel movements, through the activity and mountain, while skirmishers from the Sixtieth daring of the Second Kentucky cavalry, which and One Hundred and Second New-York regi- had joined me on the twenty-eighth. In obements pursued him through the gap. Efforts dience to verbal directions given me by the comwere made to burn the railroad bridges; but the mander of the division, the railroad was thorrebels were driven from them, and the fires ex- oughly destroyed for two miles, including the tinguished.
bridges on each side of Ringgold, by Palmer's During the artillery firing the Major-General and Cruft's commands; also the dépôt, tannery, commanding the division of the Mississippi ar- all the mills, and all materiel that could be used rived, and gave directions for the pursuit to be in the support of an army. We found on our discontinued. Later in the day, soon after three arrival large quantities of forage and flour. What o'clock, I received instructions from him to have was not required by the wants of the service was a reconnoissance made in the direction of Tunnel either sent to the rear or burned. Our wounded Hill—the enemy's line of retreat-for purposes were as promptly and as well cared for as cirof observation, and to convey to the enemy the cumstances would permit. Surgeon Moore, Medimpression that we were still after him. Gross's ical Director of the army of the Tennessee, volbrigade was despatched on this service. About untarily left his chief to devote himself to their two miles out he ran upon a small force of rebel relief, and under his active, skilful, and humane cavalry and infantry, and pursued them about auspices, and those of the medical directors with a mile and a half, when he fell upon what he the divisions, they were comfortably removed to supposed to be a division of troops posted on | Chattanooga on the twenty-eighth. My sincere the hills commanding the road. The brigade re- thanks are tendered to all the officers of the medturned at eight o'clock, and went into bivouac. ical staff for their zealous and careful attentions Colonel Gross's report in this connection closes to the wounded on this as well as on former by saying that “we found broken caissons, I fields. Especially are they due to Surgeon Ball, wagons, dead and dying men of the enemy Medical Director of Geary's division, and to Surstrewn along the way to a horrible extent.” geon Menzies, Medical Director of Cruft's divi
As some misapprehension appears to exist sion. with regard to our losses in this battle, it is. On the twenty-trinth, Major-General Palmer proper to observe that the reports of my division returned to Chattanooga with his command, commanders exhibit a loss of sixty-five killed having in charge such prisoners as remained in and three hundred and seventy-seven wounded, Ringgold. On the thirtieth, the enemy, being about one half of the latter so severely that it reassured by the cessation of our pursuit, sent a was necessary to have them conveyed to the hos-flag of truce to our advanced lines at Catoosa, by pital for proper treatment. They also show of Major Calhoun Benham, requesting permission the enemy killed and left on the field one hun- to bury his dead and care for his wounded abandred and thirty. Of his wounded we had no doned on the field of his last disaster at Ringgold. means of ascertaining, as only those severely Copies of this correspondence have heretofore hurt remained behind, and they filled every been forwarded. Also on the thirtieth, under house by the wayside as far as our troops pen- instructions from department headquarters, etrated. A few of our wounded men fell into Gross's brigade, Crust's division, marched for the enemy's hands, but were soon retaken. We the old battle-field at Chickamauga to bury our captured two hundred and thirty prisoners and dead; and on the first of December, the infantry two flags, to make no mention of the vast amount and cavalry remaining left Ringgold-Geary and of property and materiel that fell into our hands. Cruft to return to their old camps, and Osterhaus Adding to the number of prisoners and killed as to encamp in Chattanooga valley. above stated the lowest estimated proportion of The reports of the commanders exhibit a loss in wounded to killed usual in battle, would make the campaign, including all the engagements here. the losses of the enemy at least three to our one. in reported, in killed, wounded, and missing, of nine
From this time the operations of the right hundred and sixty. Inconsiderable in compari. wing, as it was now called, became subordinate son with my apprehension, or the ends accomplish. to those of the column marching to the relief of ed, nevertheless, there is cause for the deepest rethe garrison at Knoxville. Instructions reached gret and sorrow. Among the fallen are some of me from the headquarters of the military divi-l the brightest names of the army. Creighton and
Crane, of the Seventh Ohio ; Acton, of the For- Lieutenant H. C. Wharton, a promising young tieth Ohio; Bushnell, of the Thirteenth Illinois; officer of engineers, reported to me from the staff Elliott, of the One Hundred and Second News of the Major-General commanding the departYork, and others whose names my limits will ment, and was unwearied in his assistance, both not allow me to enumerate, will be remembered as an engineer and as an officer of my personal and lamented as long as courage and patriotism staff. are esteemed as virtues among men.
Major-General Howard has furnished me for The reports of commanders also show the cap- transmittal his able report of the operations and ture of six thousand five hundred and forty-services of the Eleventh corps from the time it passseven prisoners, (not including those taken by ed my command, November twenty-second, to that Palmer at Greysville, of which no return has been of its return, December seventeenth. As it relates received ;) also seven pieces of artillery, nine bat- to events of which I had no personal knowledge, tle-flags, not less than ten thousand stand of it only remains to comply with his wishes, with small arms, one wagon train, and a large amount the request that the Major-General commanding of ammunition for artillery and infantry, forage, the department will give it his especial attention. rations, camp and garrison equipage, caissons I may add that the zeal and devotedness disand limbers, ambulances, and other impediments. played by this corps and its commander, in perThe reports relating to the capture of the flags forming all the duties assigned them, and in are herewith transmitted.
| cheerfully encountering its perils and privations, In the foregoing it has been impossible to fur- afford me great satisfaction. nish more than a general outline of our opera | Very respectfully, your obedient servant, tions, relying, upon the reports of subordinate
Joseph Hooker, commanders to give particular and discriminating
Major-General Commanding. information concerning the services of divisions,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES, brigades, regiments, and batteries. These re
IN THE FIELD, CULPkPER Court-House, VA.,}
March 25, 1864. ports are herewith respectfully transmitted. The attention of the Major-General commanding
Respectfully forwarded to Major. General H. W.
Halleck, Washington, D. C.: is especially invited to those of the division commanders. As to the distinguished services of
I know of no objection to the substituting of those commanders I cannot speak in terms too
this for Major-General Hooker's original report
of his operations in the battle of Chattanooga. high. They served me, day and night, present
Attention is called to that part of the report or absent, with all the well-directed earnestness
giving, from the reports of the subordinate comand devotion they would have served themselves
manders, the number of prisoners and small had they been charged with the responsibilities of the commander. The confidence inspired by
arms captured, which is greater than the number their active and generous coöperation early in
really captured by the whole army.
U. S. Grant, spired me to feel that complete success was in
Lieutenant-General United States Army. evitable. My thanks are due to General Carlin and his
GENERAL WM. F. SMITH'S REPORT.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION ) brigade for their services on Lookout Mountain
OF THE MISSISSIPPI, on the night of the twenty-fourth. They were
NASHVILLE, TENN., January 9, 1864.5 posted in an exposed position, and when attack- Brigadier-General John A. Rawlins, Chief of ed repelled it with great spirit and success. Il Staff : must also express my acknowledgments to Major- GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the General Palmer and his coinmand for services following report of engineering operations done rendered while belonging to my column. Lieu- with reference to the battle of Chattanooga, tenant Ayers, of the Signal corps, with his as- November twenty-third, twenty-fourth, and twensistants, rendered me valuable aid in his branch ty-fifth. of the service during our operations.
Frequent and careful reconnoissances had deMajor Reynolds, the Chief of Artillery of determined that Missionary Ridge, from the tunGeary's division, proved himself to be a skilful nel to the Chickamauga, was not occupied by the artillerist, and requires especial mention for his enemy, and that a passage of the river could be services. His batteries were always posted with forced at the mouth of the Chickamauga. Genjudgment, and served with marked ability. The eral Grant having determined to attempt the precision of his fire at Lookout and Ringgold seizure of that portion of the ridge, the preparaelicited universal admiration.
tory steps were first to put the works at ChatTo my staff more than ever am I indebted for tanooga into defensible condition, in order to the assistance rendered upon this occasion. allow a comparatively small force to hold that Major-General Butterfield, Chief of Staff, always place, and thus to bring every available man into useful in counsel, was untiring and devoted on the field. the field. Captain H. W. Perkins, Assistant To do this, heavy details were made and kept Adjutant-General, Colonel James D. Fessenden, constantly at work before the battle, so that on Major William H. Lawrence, Captain R. H. Hall, Saturday, November twenty-first, the works Lieutenants P. A. Oliver, and Samuel W. Taylor, were all in a condition to defy assault. Second, aids-de-camp, bravely and intelligently perform- | Bridge material had to be collected for the ed all their duties.
| bridges and put in convenient position for use.